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Old September 10 2010, 04:00 PM   #16
Greg Cox
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

I enjoyed it, but I'm hoping the dialogue gets a little less expository and on-the-nose. Was it just me or did they explain the basic premise at least four times last night? It was like the network was terrified that some poor viewer might find the show too confusing, so every plot point was explained very, very carefully . . . .

But I'll admit the final twist caught me by surprise. I didn't see that coming.
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Old September 10 2010, 05:53 PM   #17
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Yeah, Nikita giving exposition to her foster father was very stilted. And the opening narration was just too much all at once. I guess I can understand why they did it that way; this was sort of a loose continuation of the premise of an earlier series, almost a sequel though not really, and they were assuming that most viewers would be familiar with the earlier series, the Luc Besson movie, or the remake Point of No Return, and thus wouldn't need much exposition of the backstory. The problem there is that it makes the series less accessible to totally new viewers. As someone only indirectly familiar with earlier incarnations, evaluating this as a standalone work, I felt it needed more showing and less telling of Nikita's backstory.

Alternatively, the way to make it work better as a standalone piece would've been to start with Alex and follow her primarily, then have her begin to learn about a legendary predecessor named Nikita. It's always a good idea to give the audience a viewpoint figure, someone who's learning the ropes while the audience watches through their eyes, so that it doesn't just feel like an info dump. Of course, that would've made Nikita a less central figure, and I wouldn't want that, because I want to spend a lot of time looking at Maggie Q and her legs which somehow manage to be longer than her whole height. But it would've been better structurally. It would've made it feel more like the beginning of a story than a pseudo-sequel. (Like the original Star Wars film. It didn't open with Obi-Wan Kenobi giving a voiceover about his days as a Jedi with Vader as his apprentice who betrayed him. First we met Luke, got to know him, then through him we learned about this mysterious figure and the complex backstory he was part of.)
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Old September 11 2010, 12:13 AM   #18
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

^
So, this Nikita is supposed to be a follow on of sorts to the other Nikita movies/shows?

Also, I see what Christopher is saying about having a point of view character, though I would rather that character be Nikita herself. Perhaps the pilot could be the story of her recruitment and her eventual turning against the Division.

Though it would be interesting to see Alex being schooled about Nikita, who I guess might be a legend among the other assassins.
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Old September 11 2010, 12:23 AM   #19
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Is the French movie the only one where Nikita actually committed a heinous crime before being recruited?
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Old September 11 2010, 01:00 AM   #20
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

No, in the Bridget Fonda remake, she blew away someone in cold blood who tried to help her.
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Old September 11 2010, 01:17 AM   #21
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

DarKush wrote: View Post
^
So, this Nikita is supposed to be a follow on of sorts to the other Nikita movies/shows?
Not directly, since there are continuity differences -- the name of the organization, the names of some of its members, the ethnicity of the title character. But it's kind of starting off with the general pre-established mythology of the Nikita character and moving forward from there, rather than telling the same part of the story a fourth time.
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Old September 11 2010, 01:19 AM   #22
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Aragorn wrote: View Post
No, in the Bridget Fonda remake, she blew away someone in cold blood who tried to help her.
Been a while since I've seen it but I thought she was framed or it was an accident or something. Damn faulty memory...
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Old September 11 2010, 01:53 AM   #23
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

DarKush wrote: View Post
^
So, this Nikita is supposed to be a follow on of sorts to the other Nikita movies/shows?

Also, I see what Christopher is saying about having a point of view character, though I would rather that character be Nikita herself. Perhaps the pilot could be the story of her recruitment and her eventual turning against the Division.

.

I don't think it's literally in the continuity of the previous versions. It's basically using the concept of the old versions as the backstory for the new series.

The story of her recruitment and gradual disillusionment was already told at length in the old series, so I can see where they would want to skip over that this time around. Just to do something different.
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Old September 11 2010, 03:03 AM   #24
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Mr. Adventure wrote: View Post
Been a while since I've seen it but I thought she was framed or it was an accident or something. Damn faulty memory...
I haven't seen the movie in a while, but I think she was part of a group that committed a violent crime but she wasn't an active part of it until it was over and they were all dead, when a cop tried to help her and she blew his brains out.
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Old September 11 2010, 05:12 AM   #25
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
The story of her recruitment and gradual disillusionment was already told at length in the old series, so I can see where they would want to skip over that this time around. Just to do something different.
Which is a good idea, but they could've handled it less awkwardly, made it work better as a standalone for those of us who never saw the previous incarnations. Kinda like how the new Doctor Who worked as a brand-new introduction to the Doctor and his world through the eyes of a new, audience-identifiable character and then gradually started revealing the old mythology of the series through her eyes. That was a fine example of doing a show in a way that worked both as a continuation and a new start, speaking to two different audiences equally well. This pilot, by contrast, was too dependent on being a continuation. As a first-time introduction, it didn't work well.
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Old September 11 2010, 06:24 AM   #26
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Caliburn24 wrote: View Post
Enjoyed the pilot well enough.

But I think the show is going to have a real problem sustaining a credible threat from the Division. Nikita knows too much about them, including seemingly all the bigwigs and their operational doctrines for it to take longer than one season for her to bring the Division down. Especially considering she has perhaps two moles inside it.

If Nikita knows who the leader of the Division is why doesn't she kill him? It is the same problem that Sidney faced in Alias, and which that show wisely ended early by bringing SD-6 down midway through season 2.
I felt pretty much the same way. The show actually impressed me considering the awful ads for it set my expectations way low. This fulfills my "big dumb action" quotient quite nicely.

Assuming the show doesn't get cancelled first, I don't think Division will last much more than a season or two, with Nikita taking them out only to reveal another more dangerous layer of foes coupled with a few acts of treachery along the way.

I thought the show worked fine as an introduction by focusing on the action aspects of the show. We know Nikita's pissed at Division and will do anything to take them down. I'm fine with getting more of this Nikita's backstory as the show unfolds.
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Old September 11 2010, 03:28 PM   #27
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
DarKush wrote: View Post
^
So, this Nikita is supposed to be a follow on of sorts to the other Nikita movies/shows?

Also, I see what Christopher is saying about having a point of view character, though I would rather that character be Nikita herself. Perhaps the pilot could be the story of her recruitment and her eventual turning against the Division.

.

I don't think it's literally in the continuity of the previous versions. It's basically using the concept of the old versions as the backstory for the new series.

The story of her recruitment and gradual disillusionment was already told at length in the old series, so I can see where they would want to skip over that this time around. Just to do something different.
I see what you're saying, for fans of the movies and the old show, but what about new fans, like me? I think the new show would be better served by showing us that disillusionment and breaking away. Hopefully it wouldn't be exactly like the previous films enough to keep the older fans interested or at least intrigued. Regarding Doctor Who, I would argue that the Nikita franchise history isn't as long as DW's, plus it isn't a linked continuity. To me the new Nikita is a remake and isn't directly linked to the past movies/shows. I mean, its the same concept, but its a new take.

The main reason I want to see the recruitment process is I want to get more into Nikita's head. I want to see her transformation. I also want to get a better sense of who she is and why she hates Division so much, what drives her, what is she fighting for. With the Alias and 24 openers, I think we got a better sense of who Syndey and Jack Bauer were as people and pretty much invested in them immediately, if you liked the characters/shows that is. Even with Human Target, we got to see Christopher Chance's interactions with Winston and Guerrero, to get a sense of the guy. USA's Covert Affairs, which I'm not much of a fan of, pulled this off better in their pilot than Nikita. With Nikita, we did get some hints but not quite enough for me.

I caught the reair last night and I thought the pilot was good overall. I thought Nikita got that West African general to the UN a little too easy, but I did like the twist with Michael, and even though I had found out about the big twist, it was still nice. I'll stick with it. The action isn't bad and it provides a weekly chance to see Maggie Q kick tail and wear bikinis.
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Old September 12 2010, 08:23 PM   #28
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

As a huge fan of the original LFN series, I have to give this a thumbs down. My expectations were low coming into the show and even so I was not that entertained. If Alias was too much like La Femme Nikita, Nikita is too much like if Alias was actively trying to rip off La Femme Nikita.

Did not like Maggie Q. I don't find her sexy or particularly attractive. Her acting was forgettable. I do think casting an Asian for a role played again and again by a Caucasian is weird and causes unnecessary dissonance for me who has followed the franchise through so many incarnations. Probably wouldn't have been an issue if I was impressed with her acting. Then again, combined with the blah writing she didn't really have much chance to impress either.

Interesting side note, I never found Peta Wilson all that attractive either. I did think she had a powerful sexuality that worked in her favor, but she never really got a rise out of me physically.

This version of the Michael character is terrible. He has no menace, no authority, no sense of gravitas. This version is a complete limp-dick so far. He is physically attractive enough for a Michael type--but it ends there.

Alex, the new recruit. Thought her acting was shaky at times, especially during her introduction, but she seemed to get a little better as the episode went on. She's attractive, certainly easy to look at. I liked the character better before the twist.

Percy, the new Operations? Similar to Michael. No gravitas. He feels utterly ineffectual and I feel no strength whatsoever behind him.

New Birkoff. He's a nerd! Right? Nerd?! Did they mention he was a NERD?! Lame. All around terrible introduction on the writer's part, but I can't fault the actor yet.

New Madeline/Old Amanda from the french film? I guess she was okay. She fulfilled her role.

New version of Section One, Division. Why they changed the name, I don't know. But, they've seemed to neuter the very concept of the organization. Now, it's evil and run amok from the very start. They've painted this whole thing in black and white. In the original series, Section One was all about shades of grey; they would appease a child molester in order to shut down a mass terrorist organization and in the end sometimes they would not give the molester what they deserved. It was an exploration of utilitarianism, of 'do the ends justify the means'. While I can forgive the pilot for not getting into this yet (I can only hope they explore this later), I can fault the pilot for going out of its way to make Nikita the good one and the organization the bad one.


Overall, below average for me. While I feel there is an off chance a lot of problems could be fixed... I'm not sure I'm willing to stick around to see. I may have to just rewatch with my LFN DVDs.

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Old September 12 2010, 09:30 PM   #29
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Maggie Q is one of the biggest action stars on Earth right now, though she's better known in Hong Kong than the US. And her profile in the US has been on the rise. It makes perfect sense that they'd want to cast the best, and not rule her out for trivial reasons like ethnicity. After all, it's not like there's anything about the character that requires her to be a given race. And it's not like she hasn't changed nationality before, from French to American (and possibly to Canadian?). Or in terms of actresses, from French to American to Australian, and now to a Vietnamese-American actress born in Hawaii.
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Old September 12 2010, 09:50 PM   #30
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Christopher wrote: View Post
Maggie Q is one of the biggest action stars on Earth right now, though she's better known in Hong Kong than the US. And her profile in the US has been on the rise.
This is actually the first I have ever seen of her.

Christopher wrote: View Post
It makes perfect sense that they'd want to cast the best, and not rule her out for trivial reasons like ethnicity.
I didn't see anything from her in this pilot that was notably good. Maybe that's just me.

Christopher wrote: View Post
After all, it's not like there's anything about the character that requires her to be a given race.
I didn't say there was, I was merely citing the the precedent of Caucasian actors being associated with Nikita across three different iterations of the franchise and I found that such a huge change caused dissonance for me. Like I said as well, if I was impressed by her acting it would have slipped me by. Instead, she left me kind of bored and let my mind wander.

Christopher wrote: View Post
And it's not like she hasn't changed nationality before, from French to American (and possibly to Canadian?). Or in terms of actresses, from French to American to Australian, and now to a Vietnamese-American actress born in Hawaii.
All I'm saying is that it was a a notable, visible change this time around. It's like when everyone was complaining about the casting for The Last Airbender. I think I remember you responding quite negatively to it.

I'm not even responding strongly. Just pointing out that I couldn't help but notice and it took me out of the show a little because her performance didn't keep my full attention.
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